Music is a Healing Modality

Introducing Ms. Cindy


Ms. Cindy is a speech pathologist who teaches voice, piano & guitar at Music Maker Workshops. She believes Music Heals and is therapeutic.  We are so thankful to have her on our staff.  Please read to learn more about Ms. Cindy!

Music Heals

Whether it is teaching, playing/practicing by myself or with other musicians, or performing, to me music soothes, music comforts, music helps us process emotion, untamed emergy, expressions we might not otherwise express... and through it all Music Heals ~ it makes us better humans.  It's about connecting with human emotion, processing that emotion, sitting with it, and sharing it sometimes.  Music is a healing modality, like ultrasound or a massage but more interactive 😋  For me music is a sanctuary, a Happy Place where my heart and mind create a world full of peace, love, acceptance, discovery and joy 🎶 ❤️

Can you tell us about your experiences with Musicians On Call

In 2016, I started playing for Musicians on Call.  It felt right a home singing to patients, one to one in a hospital setting.  The fun was also that we were just starting the Phoenix Chapter of this national organization.  It was just a few musicians and guides, with a lot of great creative energy and healing intentions!  Our little groups created two CDs which we sold to raise money for the organization.  A few of us also got to play on local television, to celebrate the anniversary of Woodstock in 2019 and that was super fun!!  We also played some holiday shows for patients.  One patient having heard me play the month before, sketched a picture of me from "memory" playing guitar for him ❤️ -- he was suffering from memory loss among other issues and this touching gift means the world to me -- it's hanging up in my music room.  Those meaningful connections we get to make using music to communicate & share feelings, situations, and to give a little inspiration and comfort to someone else for a minute... that is what I'm about.  

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How does being a Speech-Language Pathologist help you in the music classroom?

My perspective is very student-centered, and in my music classroom.  Each student's lesson is tailored to the individual needs and objectives of that particular student.   My lessons might even be a little therapeutic, where I'm really just providing a safe environment for students of all ages to explore their musical abilities.  I want them to discover skills they didn't know they had!  Hopefully I inspire discovery, and a bit of enthusiasm for learning and trying new things.  Music is really a language; it is a form of human expression that is innate.  We really do sing before we speak, exploring oohs and aahs.  The vowels in a melody of pitches and rhythm, provide the foundation of language.  We also dance before we walk or run 😉  So I think I teach music more like a language, highlighting elements of pitch, rhythm, tempo, dynamics, articulation, key, harmony, lyric, song form.  I want us to understand or express a feeling or sentiment, as a means of connecting with others.

Cheston with his teacher Ms. Cindy at Music Maker Workshops

How do you believe people can use music to improve their daily lives?

Simple practices, little rituals, and being in a good place when you are doing your music practice.  It should be a special gift of time and inspiration that you give to yourself.  Like reading a chapter of a book, or savoring a cup of warm herbal tea.  Both of which can also inspire a music practice.  Opening ourselves up to learning and creativity can be challenging if we are too focused on "achieving", finishing, checking those 20 minutes off our lengthy "To-Do" list.  Music makes life better when we are just IN IT -- just Being -- letting all those other things in life just fade away for a few minutes, to connect with the pitch, the rhythm, the harmony of notes, and music..  It's meditative, helps clear the mind of overthinking (which is a big joy crusher)  and feels exhilarating, empowering, and inspiring!  This is also the way we learn best, not by force, but by flow.

Can you tell us about your Musical Journey?

Childhood & Musical Experiences

Like many, I was a very musical child, and I learned quickly.  However, I did not have access to very much music education outside of school.  There I learned a little violin and played in the 3rd-grade orchestra.  I also learned a bit of clarinet and played in the 5th-grade band.

In elementary school, I was so lucky, as my teachers had pianos in their classrooms.  They played to calm us down, and they played made-up songs to reinforce what we were learning.  It was the 70s and it was very fun and groovy.  I still have that magical, learning, singing, and playing association with music to this day.  

Music I Enjoyed Growing Up

As I got older and music got more competitive and performance-oriented.   At that time I  drifted away from it a bit but grew my creativity.  That's when I focused on learned different languages, French, German, and ancient Greek.  I wrote poetry and essays a bit in different languages and English.  In high school, I got myself a guitar.  On my guitar, I would sound out riffs from Tatoo You.  My favorite memories are enjoying the many concerts I attended like: 
Pat Metheny,
Patty Smith,
Jeff Beck,
Bob Dylan,
Crosby Stills Nash. 
Also, Young, From Good Homes,
The Grateful Dead,
Van Halen,
David Bowie,
The Rolling Stones,
King Crimson,
Neil Young,
Elvis Costello,
James Taylor,
Carly Simon,
Suzanne Vega,
The Who,
Travelling Willbury's,
and maybe more.

Young Motherhood

However, I dove back into music again when I was pregnant with my daughter Helen (who turns 20 this year). We did the Mozart Effect and I'd play music for her, and her sister before they were born.  At that time I focused on music and learned as much as I could and practiced so the kids could hear me.  It was at that time I went back to school for music at Berklee College.

Our Family with Music Maker Workshops

Our family joined Music Makers in 2008.  My kids and my husband Joe have taken lessons for piano, violin, saxophone, and cello.  Also, I even played with a Rock Band!!  Then four years ago I joined the faculty. 
Ms. Cindy

What is your favorite MMW moment?

In four years with MMW ~ So many moments have been incredibly special.  Watching students overcome fears or challenges always fills my heart with joy.  Often the smallest accomplishments are the biggest, like when a student suddenly discovers a repeating pattern on their own, and can now navigate the form of the piece with ease!   They feel great and I just love helping them get there!  My students teach me too, by deepening my understanding of what inspires them, what element of music really resonates with them, some are great with the tune (melody) while others really latch onto rhythm more.   Students expand my listening and share songs for me to learn, to teach them.  Everyday I get to teach at Music Makers becomes a favorite moment, because it is the place where I too get to learn, and play and grow with fellow creative beings!

Did you publish a children's book?

YES ~ Two!  
A fantastic learning experience and creative collaboration with visual artist, Dylan Emily Winkler!!  We had such a great time connecting through the theme of each song, chatting, and generating creative ideas. We explored different ways to develop it into an inspiring and uplifting little book.  Then we did it twice!!  The process was so much fun, and neither of us had ever created something like this before, so it was quite truly magical.  Each book is based on an original song of the same name.  One day I should record the songs professionally, but really the lyric rhythms and melody work pretty well on their own.  We creating these during the pandemic to raise our spirits and maybe the spirits of others too.  They have been enjoyed by children and adults around the world.  So these books are like little Song Blossom seeds I got to sprinkle out there.  Sharing what a simple song and heartfelt sentiment can contribute to feeling a little better out there in the world.
You can access them from my website, if anyone wants a book -- I have copies for a reasonable price 😉 Message me here -  
or through MMW

Your two daughters took music lessons for many years at the studio. Do you have any advice for parents?

Be patient and encouraging, and ask them to show you what they've learned.  My daughters both enjoyed exploring music at their own pace, and my oldest just did a few guitar lessons with me in between her travels to learn Moon River, and some chord progressions to create her own songs.  We even wrote a song together called Love in Everything when she was 17, during the pandemic.  I would say keep it open and show interest, and if they need a break, let them take it.  It feels really good to want to come back to somethings.

Fun Fact about you?

Way back in 2001, I ran the Rock and Roll Marathon (26.2 miles) in San Diego, CA.  It took me 4 hours 🙂  Never did that again, but the music was great and it really kept me going 🎶

The Host of our new Podcast

Ms. Cindy is hosting and has launched, Music Maker Workshops Podcast, Creativity Corner.   

Do you want lessons with Ms. Cindy?

Call us for more information on Ms. Cindy's availability: 480-706-1224.